Nyakurwa’s dream for the deaf

Charles Nyakurwa’s dream is to make the world a better place. And he is wasting no time.

Former waiter, Charles Nyakurwa, orphaned at age 7 but determined to make a difference to the deaf.
Former waiter, Charles Nyakurwa, orphaned at age 7 but determined to make a difference to the deaf.

Last month, he launched an organisation specially dedicated to the deaf and he did it in style. Aptly named Deaf Hands at Work (DHW), the company had meals served using sign language, something the benefactor believes was a first here.

“DHW provides opportunities for deaf people in the construction and consumer service sector,” former waiter Nyakurwa told The Zimbabwean.

“Deaf carpenters, project managers, teachers and housemaids are among the skilled and unskilled individuals for whom our mission is to create employment.”

The company’s long-term goal is to achieve prime status as a disability brand of choice in South Africa and to create a strong, motivated, skilled workforce.

“South African Sign Language is our medium of communication and we aim to promote it as the 12th national language. That will cater for more than half a million people.”

“My whole life I have been planning on the best way to introduce something new and worthy to the world, something different. I want to inspire the disabled and be one in millions to bring something positive.” Having already put his project to test, he is pleased with the early results. “On December 20, I served a table of about 20 deaf people at a restaurant here using SASL. This was my birthday celebration and I had saved money towards it partly in honour of my deaf young brother Peter, who was unfortunately not there.

I plan to do this every year in remembrance of all the deaf people who were abused at the hands of hearing people and never got justice, just because they were deaf.”

As a Zimbabwean, he wants his work to paint a positive picture of both his nationality and the ballooning migrant population, which is often despised by locals.

“I represent a migrant – that person who had to be in a foreign land and carried with him a big dream; that person who found shelter under a bridge and went for days without food, searching for greener pastures,” said Nyakurwa.

In South Africa, deaf people are rarely employed and most rely on grants that condemn them to lives of abject poverty. The eldest in a family of three, Nyakurwa was orphaned at the age of seven. His sister was five and deaf brother only three at the time. He grew up with his maternal grandmother in rural Chipinge, passing 14 O Level subjects with distinctions, despite struggling to finance his schooling.

“I worked for teachers and villagers in their fields for little money that I used to pay fees and buy stationery. I also extended my works to being a cobbler, tailor and barber.

“My life has been that of struggle, with a strong conviction to break the cycle of poverty and squalid living conditions,” he said.

“My story is that of hope, that whoever reads it even on the verge of giving up will find from within the zeal to carry on. I am inspired by those already successful in their endeavours, but even by those fighting to get there, for I know I have someone to relate to.”

Post published in: Africa News

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